By Jay CabozAround 1500 supporters, mainly from the Inkhatha Freedom Party (IFP), blocked traffic as they made their way to the South African Broadcasting Station (SABC) in a mass protest for fairness from the public broadcaster.
Mungosuthu Buthelezi, head of the IFP, led the large gathering of supporters through Johannesburg CBD to the entrance of the SABC Studios in Auckland Park on Friday September 14.
The IFP leader noted that this was “a matter which goes to the heart of how the citizens of this country can freely make up their own minds as to whom they wish to govern them”.
“South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda.”
Supporters sported bottles, knobkerries and shields as they made their way along Enoch Sontonga Avenue alongside the University of the Witwatersrand.
One supporter said they were marching to express their outrage that Julius Malema had been banned by the SABC. Another said the media only chose to report their (IFP) actions when they ‘made noise with the ANC’ so they were making some.
Buthelezi addressed the crowd and said that bias within the SABC was not surprising.
“Since 1994, the ANC in Parliament has hand-picked every SABC board member, and the ANC has had the final say in the appointment of all executive officers of the SABC. Thus political interference has been built into the system and ruthlessly exploited by the ANC-alliance.”
“For years, the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster’s radio and television channels. This year, for example, two of the IFP’s three major events – its Freedom Day and Women’s Day rally – did not receive TV coverage at all. This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club.”
A memorandum was handed over to by the IFP outside the SABC station in Auckland Park without incident.